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Nino's Spinach Pie - Anything Like It Out There?

Remember it well, and really haven't run across anything;like it in the city. Did have zero otto's escarole calzone a few years ago, but not memorably--very salty.

Oct 11, 2014
bob96 in Outer Boroughs

Large tins of olive oil

Some Spanish oils have a strong bitter profile, like those made from the picual olive in Andalucia, but not all: those made from arbequina in Catalonia are softer and sweeter. Sicilian oils by and large have rich, fruity flavor profiles, with only moderate bitterness--while those from Puglia can be real bitter from thy local coratina varietal. Greek oils are hardly ever bitter, and when they err at all it's in in the other directiuon, being a little too soft and flat. It's really about balance and complexity, I think--I can't really abide those very hot Tuscan oils that really do overwhelm with one-note bitterness.

Oct 09, 2014
bob96 in General Topics

Loss of family owned businesses in Italy....A change in Italian Culture?

According to Saviano's Gomorrah, the cammora still controls this business and its small-scale Chinese and Asian players, btu I have to assume that over time, the Chinese will play more and more of a larger role. They may have to get rough with the cammoristi, tho.

Oct 09, 2014
bob96 in Italy

Loss of family owned businesses in Italy....A change in Italian Culture?

Let's please look beyond the shopfronts. Need to notice the enormous role played by clandestine immigrants in maintaining the treasured Italian system of agriculture. Whether in the tomato fields of Puglia or Parma or the citrus and olive groves of Campania, Calabria or Sicily-- Africans, Poles, and other "illegals" do back breaking work under often brutal conditions--stories about their treatment abound in the Italian press. How many big city restaurant kitchens are cleaned, prepped, and staffed by Bangladeshi or Morroccan workers? Who sells trinkets and sweet mostaccioli at Calabrese feste? Who does the sewing in small garment firms in Naples or Pistoia? How many Tunisians take out fishing boats everyday from Sciacca? Italy remains relatively rich in smaller scale rural ånd urban enterprises than, say, France or Germany, but that changes every year, as does the population now 5 percent plus foreign-born. And let's not forget the annual refrain about the number of French cafes and bistros closing....

Oct 08, 2014
bob96 in Italy
1

Substitute for Rosso Conero wine for recipe?

Since Rosso Conero is a sangiovese=montepulciano d'abruzzo blend, you can taker it fromm there. A mid-range Chianti/Classico, or a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo from producers such as Cataldi Madonna, Farnese, Illuminati (try Riparosso), or Ciccio Zaccaginini should work well.

Oct 02, 2014
bob96 in Wine
1

Chris Cosentino Deeply Regrets Television Appearances

Agree. In the context of the big media food game, what does selling out even mean any more? The line's all but evaporated. And while I can sympathize with Cosentino's plaints, his conflicts are those almost everyone deals with at one point or another--only the light's brighter, the noise louder, where he lives and works.

Oct 01, 2014
bob96 in Food Media & News

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Fraud: Whole Foods, Rachel Ray, Safeway, Newman's Own, Colavita, Bertolli

Uh...only because of the many quality oils it produces, and the tradition thjat survives even the most blatant tricks played on it. Learn a little about regions and producers and varieties, and how to trust what you buy and how you taste, and you'll see. Italy has more varieties, more tastes, than any other producing country. It has also been beset by fraud (as has Spain and Greece and Turkey), and you always need to buy with some care, as you always do for most everything. There are many postings here about what stuff should taste like, what's worth it, and how to shop for it. Have a look. Tasting a Sicilian DOP at its best is worth more than few minutes attention. Believe me.

Sep 29, 2014
bob96 in Food Media & News

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Fraud: Whole Foods, Rachel Ray, Safeway, Newman's Own, Colavita, Bertolli

Agree. I also cant really believe, after a life spent in Italian Brooklyn and NY, how easy it is here in North Cariotlina, to get quality extra virgin--at Marshall's, of all places, a DOP Val di Mazara Sicilian, at Costco an IDP Peza Koroneiki from Crete, a DOP Dauno from Foggia in Home Goods, all estate-producer bottled and current harvest, at really fair prices. And all delicious. Alas, the 2 Italian delis here, run by ex NJ, NY folks, offer poor choices. There's also a new varietal line @ Whole Foods that's promising--enjoying an excellent Sevilla monovarietal (hojiblanca). I'm lucky to have the chance to avoid the Mediterranean multi-nationals, as sound as many are, for a cabinet of 3 or 4 nice choices that do not break the bank. And good extra virgin, even very good, extra virgin, never has to.

Sep 29, 2014
bob96 in Food Media & News

Draining pasta?

Of course--what was I thinking? Penne with a Chinese strainer. That dextrous (or patient) I ain't.

Sep 28, 2014
bob96 in Home Cooking

Draining pasta?

Depends on the quantity and, to a lesser degree, shape of the pasta. Two boxes of ziti for a big family Sunday ragu dinner need a colander; 4 oz. of penne or spaghetti for a quick late night supper for 2, tongs are fine.

Sep 27, 2014
bob96 in Home Cooking

Large tins of olive oil

Speaking of Greece, or at least Crete, the liter can  of Sitia .03 extra virgin olive oil from the excellent Sitia coop is an amazing values. BTW, even oil from Kalamata is made form the ubiquitous koroneiki olive, with kalamata olives reserved mostly (but not exclusively) for table use. Increasingly, well-made extra virgin from previously bulk-producing lands like Andalucia, Spain, as well as Greece, can be found in large formats and are dependable, often delicious values. I've not found any similar values from Italy, alas.

Sep 25, 2014
bob96 in General Topics

Absolute Tomatoey-est Tasting Tomato Sauce You Will EVER Eat

No, I'm not, not for my taste. And, well, it's worked for at least three generations of us, so I'm not too concerned. For what it's worth, I do often add basil at the end, but like nonna did, tearing the leaves by hand over the pot. She never felt the need to chiffonade. Neither do I. I do hope this is OK.

Sep 19, 2014
bob96 in Home Cooking

Absolute Tomatoey-est Tasting Tomato Sauce You Will EVER Eat

Call me retrograde, but after reading this post and comments I'm exhausted. All I know is what my Calabrese nonna did, asnd what I do to usually good effect --get quality Italian pelati, crush them by hand, and dump into a skillet in which olive oil and garlic simmered. Add salt, pepper, fresh basil,. and watch. Add a little acid if need be. Boil ziti. Open wine. Sit down. Serve.

Sep 18, 2014
bob96 in Home Cooking

Long Gone But Not Forgotten! Manhattan Memories

Another solid all-purpose bakery as Jon Vie on 6th and 12th, making a full range of sweets, inc. babka, but for my memory a wonderful apricot-prune tart.

Sep 13, 2014
bob96 in Manhattan

Is it OK when David Rocco pronounces Italian words correctly but not when Giada does it?

Maureen, or perhaps like a clean "ou" sound in ought for ricotta. Moving toward Pittsburgh and beyond, however, it all becomes "ah".. and broadens inexorably as it passes through Chicago.

Sep 13, 2014
bob96 in Food Media & News

Is it OK when David Rocco pronounces Italian words correctly but not when Giada does it?

She seems much more at home in normal discourse in Italian--maybe since she's not in front of a camera, where her every gesture scripted by FN. This is the Giada-- alot like the early Giada-- that belongs on screen.

Sep 12, 2014
bob96 in Food Media & News

relatively inexpensive agriturismo with great food? (anywhere in Italy)

Elizabeth, it's Agriturismo Acacia, w no web site active. Here's their profile from the Potenza directory of agriturismi. Place looks great.http://www.agriturismo.st/it/Italia/B...

Sep 12, 2014
bob96 in Italy

relatively inexpensive agriturismo with great food? (anywhere in Italy)

Look here:http://www.agriturismo.it/en/
Two favorites in Calabria, both relatively inexpensive and unpretentious: Le Farnie in Altomonte, a medieval hill town in the Pollino mountains at the northern edge of the region; and Agriclub le Giare in Roccella Ionica, Reggio Calabria, just across from a beautiful private beach.

Sep 12, 2014
bob96 in Italy
1

The Tyranny of the Home-Cooked Family Dinner  

Please. Tyranny is Syria under Assad or being gay in Africa. Feed your kids well however and wherever you choose, is all. Cook at home if and when you want, and get a damn life. One whose worth is not entirely measured by media representations.

Sep 11, 2014
bob96 in Food Media & News

What? No Chicken Parm!! [moved from Italy board]

I've seen and had melanzane alla parmigiana with shavings of mozzarella (fior di latte) on top--tho not the multiple sheets of it--in Calabria and Campania. Maybe a transatlantic crossing. Not all southerners are freewheeling with garlic; many Neapolitans cook it whole, and remove. My Calabrese cousins use it lightly, also sliced or whole, and not in everything you might suspect. The overwhelming presence of garlic--sometimes burnt--found in bad Italian American restaurants is something I've never experienced in Italy.

Sep 10, 2014
bob96 in Food Media & News

What? No Chicken Parm!! [moved from Italy board]

The migration to Argentina and Brazil was heavily northern--the Veneto, which was also dirt poor, especially. I remember my first visits to San Francisco as a Brooklyn kid with Calabrese roots being amazed at pesto, focaccia, and other dishes form Lucca and Liguria that were completely new. And you could not buy fresh mozzarella anywhere in the Bay area.

Sep 09, 2014
bob96 in Food Media & News

Any recs for a nicer BRANDY that is sim to Christian Bros?

I'd thought about suggesting somethign like a Cardinal de Mendoza Solera, too, but stopped for the same reason. Now a good, balanced Calvados might be an alternative to Cognac, if one is needed.

Sep 09, 2014
bob96 in Wine

Any recs for a nicer BRANDY that is sim to Christian Bros?

The Ferrand line is always a great value, and delicious.

Sep 08, 2014
bob96 in Wine

What? No Chicken Parm!! [moved from Italy board]

Chicken pieces cooked with onion, garlic, herbs, tomatoes, wine, and herbs, either in a saute or baked al forno in the oven produces a great pan sauce--ideal for topping a first course of spaghetti or bucatini with more fresh herbs and some grated pecorino. But, no, not on the same plate.

Sep 08, 2014
bob96 in Food Media & News

What? No Chicken Parm!! [moved from Italy board]

Arthur Schwartz makes the same case for Neapolitan traditional cooking; typically, the Neapolitans are firm on avoiding this terrible clash of flavors (!). We always had both an onion and some garlic in the pan first; for soem sauces, like marinara or pizzaiolo, garlic only.

Sep 08, 2014
bob96 in Food Media & News

Best pizza in Naples near airport?

Haven't been to any of these, but as Jen says, standards are high, and the spots pinned on this Google map (clik down to scale, right by the airport's SE entrance) are within minutes of Capodichino, in old residential neighborhoods. Might be solution, if you have little time. And get to see some of Naples that most tourists might not.https://maps.google.com/maps?client=s...

Sep 08, 2014
bob96 in Italy

What? No Chicken Parm!! [moved from Italy board]

Well, some do, in both directions. But not always mentioned. Linguine all vongole, arancini, chicken alla cacciatora (in one of its many styles), pesto, foccaccia, zuppa di pesce of any kind and pasta with frutta di mare, ragu all Napoletana (the Sunday "gravy"), lasagne di carnevale (the traditional form, born and still made in Naples), steak alla pizzaiolo, roasted peppers, frittate, caponata, escarole and beans and other such minestre, fried zucchini flowers, pasta with beans or legumes or broccoli or cauliflower, quality salumi...the list goes on on an of foods that are more or less shared in both cultures. Maybe no longer in restaurants, but certainly on family tables. And yes, meatballs with pasta, and even baked with pasta. Many holiday sweets. And "Italian" cheesecake, or torta di ricotta. They even drink beer or Coke with pizza in Naples, too.

Sep 07, 2014
bob96 in Food Media & News

Long Gone But Not Forgotten! Manhattan Memories

Wow--the list goes on and on. Remember well the Paradox and Cauldron--the former a beige, smoky, rustic way station where East Villagers getting ready to split for Vermont or Oregon fueled up on miso soup, brown rice and cabbage, green tea, and apple crisp made with seaweed gel. The Cauldron was orthodox macrobiotic, a weird, cult-like place I never liked.

Sep 04, 2014
bob96 in Manhattan

Extra virgin olive oil

Maureen, I cant really say, except that Costco is expertly price driven on everything, foods included: hard to find better values (quality-price) on many items. But Costco has always been trustworthy with its products in my experience. Its Toscano IGP is a steal, and when this stock is gone, it's just no longer available until the next raccolta. This basic extra virgin, labelled "100 Italian olives" and dated, smells like, and tastes like, a decent Pugliese coratina-ogliarola mix. I may well be wrong, of course, but I've been burned by enough extra virgin disappointment to finally have something like a nose, and have to give Costco the benefit of the doubt here. Sometimes you find these things--I've been lucky to get a fresh Spanish picual from a leading Andalucia coop for about the same price in another big box store (World Market), and an estate bottled DOP Dauno (Clemente) from Foggia for a little more from another such store, Home Goods, where I also found one of Barbera's monovarietal Sicilians at a terrific price. I also picked up a few cello packs of Sicilian oregano on the branch here--why it should be here in this North Carolina town is anyone's guess, but I for one profited. Maybe it's this crazy quilt and sometimes unpredictable global import market, where stuff can get thrown out there that's better than it should be (just like, in some traditional supermarkets, it's worse than it should be--the junk oils for sale in even established supermarkets are numerous). I just keep hunting until I find something worth it. I'll see what I can find about the Costco pricing, too.

Sep 04, 2014
bob96 in Manhattan

Long Gone But Not Forgotten! Outer Borough Memories

The Guarinos sold their bakery to this Sicilian family, who renamed it (if memory serves) Carroll Bakery. On that block as well was the famous Pipitone butcher shop, complete with sawdust and stools and much chatter about meats for Sunday.

Aug 28, 2014
bob96 in Outer Boroughs